United Steelworkers strike at Firestone Polymers plant

By Miles Moore
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: March 21, 2013 12:17 pm ET
Updated: March 21, 2013 12:19 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers

ORANGE, TEXAS — About 130 workers at the Firestone Polymers LLC synthetic rubber and thermoplastic elastomer facility in Orange went on strike March 18 over management's health care proposals for employees.

According to the United Steelworkers union, Firestone Polymers seeks to establish a consumer-driven health care plan at the Orange plant that has low premiums but out-of-pocket deductibles that are six times higher than what workers are paying now.

The company is proposing a pay raise of 2 percent annually for the three years of the proposed contract, which the union said is not enough to cover the extra out-of-pocket costs.

Members of USW Local 13-636 at the Orange plant particularly are worried because they work with hazardous chemicals in the factory, the union said. The facility manufactures Diene and Stereon, Firestone's trade names for polymerized polybutadiene rubber and polymerized styrene-butadiene di-block and tri-block copolymers.

"We'd be willing to take less in wages if the health care plan wasn't so expensive," said Richard Landry, USW International staff representative.

Besides the exponentially higher deductibles, the proposed health care plan would cap each worker's annual medical expense payments at $12,500, according to Landry.

"If we get a major illness, chemotherapy and certain drugs cost $5,000 a pop," he said. "A lot of people would be declaring bankruptcy."

The union is working with a mediator to schedule further meetings with management, but so far nothing has been set, Landry said.

In a statement, Firestone said it was disappointed that the USW decided to call a strike in Orange.

"It has been our goal throughout the negotiation process to achieve a contract that is in the best interest of the local union members, will allow our company to compete in the global marketplace, and will ensure that as a company we are profitable now and in the long term," the company said.

Representatives from Firestone Polymers' Japanese parent company, Bridgestone Corp., were supposed to come to Orange March 19 to assess the situation at the plant. Landry said, however, they didn't arrive that day.


Comments

United Steelworkers strike at Firestone Polymers plant

By Miles Moore
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: March 21, 2013 12:17 pm ET
Updated: March 21, 2013 12:19 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Experts explain why resin sales are down in a healthy US economy

February 27, 2015 1:58 pm ET

The economies of the U.S. and Canada posted solid growth in 2014 — even though resin demand in those countries lagged behind.    More

Image

Industry vet Dwight Morgan joins M. Holland

February 27, 2015 1:55 pm ET

Resin distribution leader M. Holland Co. has hired industry veteran Dwight Morgan as its vice president of corporate development.    More

Image

Indian masterbatch makers growing locally and thinking globally

February 27, 2015 1:30 pm ET

GANDHINAGAR, INDIA — India’s masterbatch makers are expanding their domestic capacity to meet growing demand, as some are also moving...    More

Image

Polypropylene prices rise, while PE and PS fall

February 26, 2015 4:01 pm ET

North American prices for polyethylene and polystyrene resins continued to fall in February, while regional prices for polypropylene showed a...    More

Image

Price and sustainability both key to success for carpet recycler

February 26, 2015 1:28 pm ET

DALLAS — A green message will get you in the door, but ultimately that sustainability message has to be backed up with quality at the right pric...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events